Friday, September 28, 2012

Healthy Venting

My daily life presents me with all kinds of material to vent about. Admittedly, I've verbally vented to my husband many a time but I wouldn't exactly call that healthy or productive. Although there may be some value in the long run to occasionally verbalizing what's going on and communicating that to my husband.
In order to avoid being constantly crabby and unpleasant I needed to find ways to vent just to release the negativity that inevitably comes with living with chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. So here are some of the things I've been doing to vent:

1. This blog has been a wonderful space to vent, get support, exchange ideas, express myself and organize my thoughts and feelings. 

2. Finding ways to laugh about aspects of living with chronic pain. For example, I have several cartoons on my fridge poking fun at doctors, prescription drugs and migraines. Laughing in general is such a great release. Laughing specifically about my conditions feels more like venting as it helps me reframe my perspective. 

3. Celebrating the small victories also feels like venting. This is my chance to show myself that the pain hasn't won and that there is still plenty of good. Times like this past Tuesday when after almost a year without a haircut I went in and the stylist said she couldn't believe what great shape my hair was in considering how long it had been. That little victory deflated so much of the frustration I had been feeling when I woke up. 

4. My active imagine will at times help me to vent. I'll picture doing or saying something that I would never do or say in real life to someone who just doesn't get it. Like last weekend when my we had breakfast with my husband's side of the family. My sister-in-law's husband asked if I would be driving down to their place during the day to let their dogs out during the week my husband is staying at their house to dog sit. Their house is about a half hour from us (one way) and so it would be a ridiculous waste of time, energy and money for me to do that for 7 days straight. I said no and he gave me this look, made a sarcastic sound in his throat followed by "what else do you have to do?" I politely smiled and said that I was going to be taking care of our dog, rabbit and myself. Then I spent time imaging egging his smug face, beating his body in such a way that he would feel all the various pains I get to experience on a daily basis just to watch...and of course, imaging the things I would have liked to say. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Clouds,

Thank you so much for blanketing the sky today. I absolutely love it when the entire sky is wrapped in you all day. Rain or no, just not having to deal with sunshine at all today has been so wonderful. Most especially because I'm not feeling well and had errands to run. It wasn't hot or cool, it was bright or rainy, it was just a perfect muted sky.

Most people don't appreciate the relief you bring to people like me, preferring the bright sunshiny days. They get their way more often than not. But I wanted to make sure you know that I love it when you stick around all day like you did today. You brighten my day.

Dear Migraines,

Thank you so much for ruining yet another week. You have made me extra nauseated, tired and crabby. Perhaps best of all, when you act up as much as you have this week, you bring on all kinds of spasms in my neck and shoulders. Nothing like feeling like you've just been in a car wreck to top off all the migraine pain and make for an extra special week.

If only I could find a way to repay you.

Dear Pillows,

Thank you for supporting me in comfort throughout the day. Thank you throw pillows for supporting my back when I'm sitting and for providing extra cushion for my head if I need to lounge a little more. Thank you bed pillows of varying sizes and lengths for supporting my head, arms, torso and legs. You help my body to stay aligned and comfy while I sleep. I can't imagine life without all of you helping to make my days a little bit easier.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Bad Spell

I'm having one of those days when I just just to curl up surrounded by comfy pillows and covers, in quiet darkness and just sleep through the next several days of migraines. That's right, I'm in another bad stretch of continuous migraine pain. It's exhausting and tends to make me irritable and pessimistic. No matter how much progress I've made in dealing with my chronic pain issues it is during these really bad stretches that everything seems to fall apart.
If only I could sleep through these times, but since I can't I'm forced to cope with it. Far too often that means snapping at my husband and then apologizing for being in this state. It means taking more meds and escaping into the droning of the TV. It means I don't feel like doing anything, or going anywhere, or talking to anyone but my husband. It means I begin to feel like I'm wasting my life and then the guilt and sadness set in. The longer it goes on the worse I feel mentally and emotionally.

Okay so that's not exactly healthy coping but it is usually how these stretches go. I still go ahead and do the relaxation practices, stretching and such but it all feels empty and unproductive. I know it will pass eventually but that knowledge doesn't do much to stop it from wearing me down.

Do any of you go through these periods of times? How do you deal with it?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Adventures in Bowling

After discovering a smoke-free bowling ally oasis here in smokers paradise, my husband and I decided to go play a game. While it may have been a bowling ally it was also much more than that with a full restaurant, arcade, two full rows of bowling with full service at the lanes including shoe delivery. And being the ONLY smoke-free place in this very large area it was full of families.
We just wanted to play the one game and so we signed up for a 1/2 hour and started bowling. About 10 minutes in an announcement was made that they were going to be starting cosmic bowling in 10 minutes time so anyone who had trouble with strobe lights, smoke machines and such should make their way out in that time. We decided to stay because by the time it was scheduled to start we wouldn't have much time left anyway. 

Unfortunately 10 minutes turned out to be 2 minutes and cosmic bowling started at the very random time of 1:40 in the afternoon. Long story short, we both ended up with a headache. 

Either we are too practical or too old to enjoy this kind of thing. When I go bowling I don't fog covering the ally, I don't laser lights dancing on every surface, I don't music blaring and I don't want strobe lights. I know full well there will be a pain price to pay for bowling due to the very nature of the game and I don't mind because I do enjoy it. But I'm frustrated that these completely unnecessary environmental factors always ruin it for me. 

These adventures in bowling make me long for my hometown of Rochester, Minnesota. This progressive city  has been smoke-free since I can remember. You can go to any bowling ally on a Saturday afternoon and never have to worry about cigarette smoke, crazy lights or blasting music. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Fifty Shades Trilogy,
Thank you for being interesting enough to keep my attention and get me back into reading more regularly. I had been in a reading rut due to a lack of the right book. You see, my fibro/migraine brain often struggles to concentrate for long periods of time, making books a bit daunting. While you may not be brilliantly written, your subject matter is compelling enough to keep those pages turning. 

Thank you also for the fun ideas you have given me and continued entertainment. I know you don't need my endorsement as women and couple everywhere have already made you incredibly popular, but I'll go on the record anyway saying it's worth a read.

Dear Socks,

Thank you for waiting so patiently for me all summer. You have no idea how much I've missed you and the weather that calls for your use. Now I can do all the things I love to do with you like putting lotion on my feet  before putting you on or curling up under a blanket without worrying about cold or dry feet. 

You are one of the many things about fall that I love.

Dear Old Navy,

Thank you for taking an additional 30% your clearance items. I actually bought several short sleeve shirts for less than a dollar each. This brought me a great deal of satisfaction and joy - sad huh? But so true. Especially  since losing several of my summer shirts to a funky smell that I just couldn't get out of them from our previous closet. You see, there was a dead animal in the walls and the management just didn't care to do anything about it. Almost all of my summer stuff absorbed the smell and no matter how much I wash them and spray them with Fabreeze I simply cannot get it out. 

Maybe if I didn't have such an acute sense of smell this wouldn't be such a big deal. After all my husband claims he can't smell it but when your shirt smells, just below your nose it drive a woman a bit mad. And drive me crazy it does. Replacing some of these items so cheaply has made it all better.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Neighborhood Busy Body

There is an older retired man who lives in the same condo building we live in. He spends a good deal of his afternoon walking around just outside waiting to ambush anyone who is coming or going with lengthy discussions about absolutely nothing. Small talk with strangers is incredibly taxing and I need every bit of energy just to keep up with life. To make matters worse he is often smoking. Yikes!

Don't get me wrong, he's a perfectly nice man who is just super social. But I work hard to try and avoid him when taking the dog for a walk and running errands. Avoidance isn't always possible I think the time has come to tell him that I just can't be around the smoke and that I'm dealing with chronic pain so can't have lengthy conversations.

I'm working on the wording. I don't want to be rude but I also want to be clear.

Ever had a neighborhood busy body? How did you deal with it?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Social Awkwardness Complements of Migraine Brain

My husband and I got together with another couple on Saturday night. He has been friends with them for very long time and since moving to Missouri a little more than a year ago we've hung out a few times. They live a little ways away and have three small children so it can be difficult to find time that works for all of us. They are a great couple. Very easy to be around because they are not trying to project an image of perfection. This makes me feel like I'm off the hook and that is wonderful.

Even though our time with them was fun and pressure free, after they left I began to wonder if years of living with chronic pain. so far from family or friends has actually left me socially awkward. I certainly wasn't feeling awkward at the time. I made sure they had plenty to drink and munchies. We talked and laughed and I know my husband and I enjoyed ourselves. Still a part of me wonders, in hindsight, if there were some social graces we missed? Was there more we should have done to make our guests feel more comfortable?

I am aware that sometimes when we get together with people my brain will fail me, surly sparking some to wonder about what's with me. For example, someone will suggest we all go out to a festival next month. Instead of responding affirmatively right away or saying we have other plans that weekend, as would be appropriate, my brain begins to wonder what the environment will be like, what the weather may be like, where will I be in my cycle, how will I feel when the time comes... Questions that really can't be answered. Then I begin to feel the pressure of not wanting to make plans that I can't keep, having to bow out at the last minute, etc.

My mouth doesn't receive a good response in a timely manner because my brain doesn't always work the way it used to. It's little things like this that I guess I haven't adjusted to quite yet. With some forethought I'm sure I can come up with a couple staple responses to prevent some this sort of awkwardness. But there may always be a level of awkwardness to my social interactions because my life is so different from what is normal.

Do any of you feel like your chronic pain has made you socially awkward at times?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Trouble in Design

Design is important to me. The space my family and I live in is special because this is where we create memories and spend a great deal of our together time. Beyond that, home is where I spent most of my time so it needs to be comfortable and migraine/fibro friendly.

The condo we moved into at the end of July has been kind of a design challenge. Often times a space can dictate a style and feeling even without any furnishings or personal items. With enough money, time and energy the space can be adjusted to fit whatever style and feel you desire. The thing with this space is that we don't own it and we don't plan to live here more than 2 or 3 years so it just doesn't make any sense to invest much money, time or energy into changing the space. 

We did the basic stuff like painting and cleaning but that's about it. Despite these small projects making a big difference the truth is that the space is dated and as such has been difficult to design. I've done what I can by adding lots of pillows, putting stuff on the walls that are inspiring, putting low wattage bulbs in and making the most out of the space we do have. But it just doesn't quite have the right feel. 

I've sat on the sofa and looked about day after day trying to figure out what have I done wrong, or not done that I have not yet been able to achieve the desired feel. Then I realized, it's just the space. It's just going to feel a little off until we are able to buy our own space. 

I'll continue to work on making it the best space it can be as is and just be thankful that we have an affordable place to live that will also allow us to save up for our home. After all we have many blessing and I bet I can still find some great opportunities to jazz the place up. I'll post some pictures when I've found these opportunities. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Comedy Central,

Thank you for making me laugh. Between South Park, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Tosh.O, celebrity roasts, and a myriad of stand up shows you always provide me the magical powers of laughter; the wonderful, fun, healing. distracting power of laughter.

I may not like the logo redesign but I love to watch your programming.

Dear Rug Doctor,

 Thank you for coming to our rescue today. Our rabbit has been taking a toll on our carpets and, by extension, my nose and migraines. Even though our rabbit is little box trained and our dog is house trained there has still been some peeing happening on the carpets. How does that happen? Well, when the rabbit gets upset about something he takes it out on us by peeing. Since we added Gypsy to the family about a month ago he has been particularly mad and this bad bun behavior has been frequent.

While it may be too early to know for sure how helpful you have been in addressing our bad bunny's behavior, the initial results are positive. Coupled with some big changes in our bun's routine hopefully this will be the end of it.

Dear Bad Pet Owners,

Thank you for not picking up after your dogs. I love having to avoid these stinky, sticky landmines when out walking our dog. Clearly your pet's waste is someone elses responsibility. Heaven forbid you should have to pick up your dog's poo.

You all have sparked my imagination. I imagine how wonderful it would be to know who you are, pick up your dog's poo, and smear it all over your vehicle. Being careful to get the poo in the door handle so you can get some on your hands.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September Blog Carnival

The September Migraine Blog Carnival is now available. This month's topic is all about talking about migraines with others.

Monday, September 10, 2012


During my most recent trip to my general practitioner doc she noticed that my cuticles are inflamed. She didn't really indicate why she was concerned and I didn't ask. Probably because I just don't need one more health thing to think/worry about. She took some blood and if anything is awry I'm sure I'll hear about it at my next appointment.

I went ahead and thought and worried anyway, but not about what else may be wrong. I started to think about inflammation and noticed that in lots of small ways it seems like my entire body is a little inflamed and has been for some time. I've noticed it on the inside of my mouth, my feet, my hands and even my intestines. For now I refuse to google these symptoms but I've been wondering about it.

Until I'm ready or the doc tells me somethings up I'm going to cut back on my dairy and hope to see a turn about.

Have any of you experienced systematic inflammation.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Migrainista Explains It - Sort Of

Inevitably the questions get asked. What do you do? How are you feeling? Are your migraines better yet? Responding to these questions is always a bit tricky but over the years I've settled into a pattern. Most people fall into one of three categories: people I don't know who I either won't see again or won't see much of again, people who are in my life but really don't want the details, and people who are close friends or family who are sincerely interested.

Each category gets a different response. With people I don't know or rarely see I just glaze over my situation and give the most superficial responses. With people who are really in my life but clearly don't want the details will get honest but fairly superficial responses. Those close friends and family who are really interested will get the most details as these are the only ones who really want to hear it. 

Learning the difference has taken some time both for me and for others. 

The place I am most open is online as Migrainista. It is here on my blog/facebook/twitter accounts that I've really opened up and have been as honest as possible. The support and sharing from you all has been such a blessing for me. It helps me to feel less odd and alone in all the craziness that is chronic migraines and fibromyalgia. After all, truly explaining this madness is very difficult.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thank You Thursday

Dear Schnuck's,

Thank you for deciding to move everything around after I just got used to where things were located. As much as I hate grocery shopping I honestly didn't think anything could make it worse. Boy was I wrong. Showing up in the middle of the move made getting what I needed nearly impossible. Between blocking most of the isle space, lack of signage and confused employees my trip was lengthened and stressed much more than necessary. Seems to me this is the sort of work that should be done overnight when customers are not present, don't you think?

Dear Washer and Dryer,

Thank you for just being you. I so appreciate your presence and hard work. Please don't think for one minute that I take you for granted - I don't. In fact, each time I use you, I think about how lucky I am to have you here, where I can do the wash no matter how bad I feel or look. You save me time, money and the hassle of having to travel to do all our laundry.

Dear Mylan,

Thank you for making an easy to swallow version of Imitrex. I've tried 8 other manufacturers of Sumatriptan and none have gone down as well as yours did. To make matters even better, you have packaged them in pill bottles with just 9 pills instead of the usual hard to access press-packs. I no longer have to struggle to get at my pills and try to get them down when I'm already feeling terrible. Any small thing that makes my life a little easier, especially when I have a migraine, is a big deal to me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Dog's Life

In pain, curling up on the couch, TV on whatever isn't so boring that I can't stand to listen to it or so interesting that I care about drifting asleep during it. Weekend hoopla recovery continues and I try to not take any meds (the old conservation game - you know). Keeping me sane is this sweet little dog.

In the 3 short weeks since she joined our family she's become a tremendous source of comfort. She will spend all day laying with me if that's what I need. She's super cute, sweet and affectionate. She doesn't reduce my pain but between the joy she brings me and the distraction she provides, she surely does help me through it.

She is actually helping me to live a little better life.

She fits in here almost as if she's been with us since day one. Perhaps it's because she spent the first 6 years of her life with an elderly woman who only gave her up because she went into a nursing home. I guess I can see how there may be similarities between these two households. After all we're pretty quiet people and I'm usually home, only able to be active for short periods at a time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

My mom just left this morning after our long weekend together. It was fantastic to have her here, with an agenda to relax and visit. Relaxing is something I need a lot of too so that worked out perfectly. We did manage to get out a bit and do a couple low key things but mostly we hung out here. This choice was helped by lots of rain and clouds Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As wonderful as it was to have her here and as little activity as we actually did I still got exhausted and had a fair amount of pain. I guess this is just my reality right now. Fortunately my mom is very understanding and just wanted to spend time with me, wherever it was.

Her visit really prompted the completion of a couple projects related to the move in that I had really wanted to get done around here so I will have some time now to recuperate and figure out what's next. And more importantly get back into my routine and blogging.

What have you-all been doing with your Labor Day Weekend?